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Witness (1985)

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A young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder; policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

Director:

Peter Weir

Writers:

William Kelley (story by), Pamela Wallace (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,924 ( 299)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harrison Ford ... John Book
Kelly McGillis ... Rachel
Josef Sommer ... Schaeffer
Lukas Haas ... Samuel
Jan Rubes ... Eli Lapp
Alexander Godunov ... Daniel Hochleitner
Danny Glover ... McFee
Brent Jennings ... Carter
Patti LuPone ... Elaine
Angus MacInnes ... Fergie
Frederick Rolf Frederick Rolf ... Stoltzfus
Viggo Mortensen ... Moses Hochleitner
John Garson John Garson ... Bishop Tchantz
Beverly May Beverly May ... Mrs. Yoder
Ed Crowley Ed Crowley ... Sheriff
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Storyline

An 8 year old Amish boy and his mother are traveling to Philadelphia, on their way to visit the mother's sister. While waiting at the train station, the young boy witnesses a brutal murder inside one of the bathroom stalls. Police detective John Book is assigned to investigate the murder of the man, who was a undercover cop. Soon after, Book finds out that he's in great danger when the culprits know about his investigation and hides out in the Amish community. There, he learns the way of living among the Amish locals, which consists of non-violence and agriculture. Book soon starts a romance with the mother of the little boy, but their romance is forbidden by the Amish standards. But, it's not long before the bad guys find out Book's whereabouts. Written by blazesnakes9

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

amish | train | love | police | crooked cop | See All (85) »

Taglines:

8 year old Samuel: sole witness to a murder. Three killers who'll stop at nothing to silence him. One honest cop who'll give his life to save him... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

8 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Called Home See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Costner was considered to play John book. See more »

Goofs

During the breakfast scene after John milks cows, Eli uses an office chair with wheels to go from the stove to the table. It is unlikely that Eli would have been able to obtain such a chair (whether from an office supply store, thrift shop, salvage yard, etc.) given the Amish have little contact outside their community.

Contrary to what tourists might think, Amish do shop at regular stores like Kmart, Target, Walmart, and Staples and would use an office chair, especially if they got a good deal. There are often items like office chairs for sale at Lancaster County mud sales, both being bought and sold by Amish. See more »

Quotes

[Samuel opens the drawer to John's bedside table and finds his gun]
John Book: DON'T MOVE!...
[Samuel is startled, Book calms down]
John Book: What are you doing?
[sits on bed next to Samuel, says calmly]
John Book: Come here, Samuel... this is a loaded gun. This is very dangerous. Never, ever touch a loaded gun. Here, I'm gonna take the bullets out. Now it's safe. I don't want you to get hurt. I don't mean to yell at you, I just don't want you to get hurt. If you want to handle it, you can handle it... while I'm here.
Samuel Lapp: Okay, John...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing shot of John Book, driving away in his car passing Daniel provides an initial backdrop for the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the VHS version, just after John Book is shot, we see a close-up of his gun and a voice-over from an earlier conversation Book had with the captain. We hear the words: "Who else knows about this? "Just you and me." In the DVD version, we see the close-up of the gun and then it segues to Book's sister waking up Rachel and her son Samuel, minus the voice-over. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Passage thru Pamela (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

(What a) Wonderful World
(1959)
Written by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler
Performed by Greg Chapman
Courtesy of Abkco Music, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Witness (1985)
7 February 2013 | by ashi-lanceSee all my reviews

It is a film about adults, whose lives have dignity and whose choices matter to them. The story focuses on a detective (Harrison Ford) protecting a young Amish boy who becomes the target of a ruthless killer after he witnesses a brutal murder. Witness is as much about the meeting of cultures as about cops and robbers, this is one of those lucky movies which works out well on all counts and shows that there are still craftsmen lurking in Hollywood. The film is powerful, assured, full of beautiful imagery and devoid of easy moralising, which is good. Ford is Chicago Detective John Book, assigned to investigate a murder that was committed by crooked cop Danny Glover. The only witness is the son of an Amish widow, played by Kelly McGillis. When Book gets too close to the truth, the crooked cops try to kill him, forcing Book to take it on the lamb and hide out in the Amish country. There, he slowly makes a transition into their society, their way of life, and of course, he starts to fall for Kelly McGillis. (who would later star with pretty boy Cruise in "Top Gun"). Alexander Godunov, who later played the murderous Karl in "Die Hard", makes his debut here as an Amish farmer who is, Ford's romantic rival for Kelly. Also making his debut here is a much younger Viggo Mortensen as another Amish father. Mortensen's barely evident in the role out here,although had his eventual success as Aragorn in "Lord of the Rings" ........ After Star Wars & Indiana Jones,Ford succeeded in a serious role and his multi-layered performance earned him his only Oscar Nomination till date.Well directed Romantic Thriller by Peter Weir (Director of Dead poet's Society and Truman Show) that earned him his first Academy Award Nomination. Do watch this one for great Cinematography and Artwork

My Rating - 8/10


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